Chris Packham and Bill Oddie join conservation leaders in saying farewell to Suffolk-born environmental champion
PUBLISHED: 19:48 07 November 2014 | UPDATED: 11:07 10 November 2014
Leading figures in British nature conservation said a fond and final farewell to a Suffolk-born environmental champion today - with a passionate rallying call from Chris Packham to honour his memory by making a “real difference” for hard-pressed wildlife.
The outspoken TV naturalist said modern pressures on nature were now so great there was no room for conservationists to be complacent over achieving “small successes”.
Mr Packham was speaking at a Humanist service at Parc Gwyn Crematorium, Narberth, Pembrokeshire, for former Suffolk Wildlife Trust director Derek Moore, who died in hospital in Carmarthen last month after a long illness. He was 71.
Beccles-born Mr Moore became director of conservation at The Wildlife Trusts and then led the merger of two Welsh wildlife trusts that became the Wildlife Trust of South Wales after he left Suffolk.
At the service Mr Packham was joined in paying tribute by other leading conservationists, including the legendary TV naturalist Bill Oddie - a long-time friend of Mr Moore - and TV presenter Iolo Williams, who worked closely with him in Wales.
Mr Packham described Mr Moore as “intelligent, articulate and charismatic”. He said there had been “tremendous progress” in nature conservation but, added: “Are we winning? No. In Derek’s lifetime there was a 51% reduction in farmland birds.”
The service had heard from David Barker, a friend of Mr Moore whose family farm at Westhorpe, near Stowmarket, is acclaimed for its wildlife-friendly practices. But Mr Packham said: “While some farms, like David Barker’s, seem like a piece of Utopia the rest of the land is going to Hell in a handcart.
“There have been some small successes but we are the ones who are charged with making a difference. We have got to retain all our energy and reject any sense of complacency. We have got to stand up and be counted.
“Derek’s legacy for me is one I intend to embrace and carry forward. It is a legacy of determination to make a real difference.”
Mr Oddie said of Mr Moore: “He was very much my mentor because he taught me about conservation.”
Mr Williams added that Mr Moore “uniquely” combined a modern outlook with core conservation values.
He merged the Dyfed and Glamorgan county wildlife trusts into one organisation and transformed Welsh nature conservation.
Mr Barker said Mr Moore was a “towering figure in nature conservation” who worked closely with the Suffolk farming community for the benefit of wildlife. He added: “Derek’s legacy is the Suffolk countryside, which is a much better place because of him.”
A fund is being set up in memory of Mr Moore to offer bursaries to young people in nature conservation. It is linked to the A Focus on Nature organisation with donations payable to Suffolk Wildlife Trust, which should be sent to the trust at Brooke House, Ashbocking, Ipswich, IP6 9JY, marked “Derek Moore”.